Must-Have Marketing Strategies for Children’s Book Authors and How to Implement Them
If you’re at the phase of getting your manuscript illustrated by a professional children’s book illustrator, then you might want to step back and figure out some marketing strategies that will help get sales going once your children’s book has been published. As is mentioned in another article, ISBNs are a small marketing move that every children’s book author can and should make. This article will contain more about marketing and, hopefully, provide marketing strategies that you will find helpful.
To start off, what is the difference between marketing and advertising?
What is Marketing?
Marketing and promotion are two crucial activities that every self-published author needs to strategize about in order to optimize their book sales. Marketing and promotion are two different things. Firstly, marketing includes every process to keep acquiring customers who will purchase your products. In order to start your marketing plan, you will need to answer 4 simple questions: Who are your potential customers/readers? What are their interests? How will they be able to reach you? How can you get them to purchase your products? The 4Ps of marketing are a common way to think about these questions: Product, Price, Place, and Promotion.
First is the product. Every self-published author needs to think about what their products (read: children’s books) will physically look like and what kind of format(s) they will be available in (printed and/or digital in eBook versions). The second is the price. Pricing a book requires detailed calculations, which means you need to look back over all of the money you’ve spent for hiring professionals, publishing costs, and other paid services. The third is the place. Where will your books be available? Can potential readers find them in bookstores, on an online marketplace, or even on your own website? Promotion is the last element. This is the message you are going to send to potential customers about your products. Promotion includes advertising your products through platforms such as Facebook Ads and Amazon Ads to reach more potential customers with your message.
What is Advertising?
Advertising is the fourth part of the marketing mix, and it is the most crucial step if you want to earn high book sales. Basically, advertising is about how you get your products heard and seen by potential buyers. Nowadays, advertising has been made quite simple through platforms such as Amazon and Facebook.
First, you should choose the age groups who will potentially be interested in your product. Second, the platform will pop up your product on the potential buyer’s social media and suggest your products. Third, you can choose in which geographical regions your product’s advertisement will appear. Fourth, you can easily manage how much you want to spend on advertising according to your budget through advertising platforms such as Facebook Ads. Or, if you don’t want to get involved in this complicated process, you can just hire a marketing service to market your books.
What are The Ways to Market a Children's Book Illustrations?
Organize or visit an author day at school
Organizing an Author’s Day at your local school could be a way to start promoting your books to your targeted market. Before organizing one, you should get permission from whoever is in charge at the school. Make an agreement on how much time you’ll be spending at the school promoting your books and to whom you might be introducing your books. After the agreement is set up, set a date to hold this Author Day so that every student will be prepared for your visit.
Reading your books out loud and letting the students listen to you could be a way of promoting your books. Afterward, hold a Q and A session about the story that you’ve just read. Or, maybe just do a simple meet and greet and let the students get their books autographed.
Be a part of Catalogue Sales at your Local Bookstore
Everyone looks forward to sales, and that’s another opportunity for you as an indie author to join in and get people to notice your books. Sales season usually comes at the end of the year, but some bookstores hold sales throughout the year. Keeping up with the sales schedule is another job for you. This method really helps if you’ve just released your first children’s book and want people to notice you as an author as well as the book you’ve just released.
Keep in mind, bookstores only accept books that already have an ISBN. The ISBN helps them to keep track of their stock, know who the author is, who the publisher is and where they are located, and other stuff that is included in the registration. Some publishers provide their clients with an ISBN, but some don’t. In that case, you’ll have to purchase it yourself.
Participate in Children’s Book Fairs
Keep your eyes on book fairs happening in nearby towns, especially children’s book fairs. Here, you can meet many children’s book authors and share many tips and stories with them. At a book fair, you can also meet parents and encourage kids to read, and you can offer a book signing or even a photo-shoot session with your fans.
There are several famous children’s book fairs that happen around the world. For instance, the Bologna Children’s Book Fair is a yearly event held in March or April in Bologna, Italy. This annual event brings in more than 1,200 participants from 70 different countries around the world. This event also gives out a number of awards—for example, New Horizons for Non-Western Books and several more.
Brand Yourself as an Indie Author and Self-Promote Your Illustrated Children’s Book on Digital Platforms
Social media is another powerful and easy way to introduce and sell your children’s books. As mentioned before in our blog about 5 Things Authors Should Know Before Publishing a Children’s Book, you should join communities on places such as Facebook Groups, Alliance Independent Authors, and Kboards to get to know other authors. Furthermore, you can ask for reviews from authors who have more experience than you do and can offer their perspectives.
In addition, you can start selling on platforms such as Payhip.com, Amazon.com, Facebook Marketplace, and more. Those platforms allow you to set your price, use your marketing strategies, promote your products, and easily let visitors know more about your work.
Self-Promoting on Social Media? Is it that Important?
Yes, it is definitely important to self-promote on social media, as it is the cheapest form of advertising every author can do. Why? Here’s why every self-published children’s book author should self-promote on social media:
To build trust and increase book sales:
Indeed, getting people to trust you to do what you’re good at takes a lot of time and effort, but it’s worth it in the long run. Through social media, you can gain readers’ trust and increase their awareness of the many books you’ve written. However, the steps to get there are not short, and you’ll likely face some obstacles along the way.
Start increasing interactions between you and your audience or followers, as well as other members of the industry, including illustrators, book reviewers, and other indie authors. These interactions will benefit you in many ways. For example, you can learn more about self-publishing, gain support from other indie authors, and increase your profits by selling more books. Indeed, this is a long-term goal that you can achieve by interacting with other people in the industry and building those important relationships.
Once you get to that stage, people will easily recognize you as an indie children’s book author or whoever you planned to be recognized as from the start.
To increase engagement and visibility:
Social media is not the only marketing strategy out there that you should try, but it is the most cost-efficient marketing tool. Eventually, over time, social media will become a useful tool to help with your overall marketing plans. Also, social media is a great place to build, connect with, and stay visible to your audiences. This will increase your visibility as a children’s book author and allow you to reach new potential readers.
Increasing engagement with readers or fans requires some commitment to stay consistent. Create content for your readers, such as what it’s like being an author or the ups and downs of making a children’s book. Such content will be interesting to others who want to know what it’s like to make a book and will increase their curiosity about how it is done.
To know your audience:
Not all social media platforms have the same audience age groups. Getting on 1-3 social media platforms will help you learn more about the common age groups that use the platform. The reason to know these audience age groups is to find out where your money will be best invested if you advertise on this platform. Therefore, e recommend being active on 1-3 social media platforms.
Nowadays, the world of advertising is much easier than before. Advertising on social media is a new way to advertise that is often more effective than any other media because social media advertisements now allow us to target people based on their interests, age group, behavior, and much more. Thus, it is beneficial to invest in social media advertisements if you know your targeted buyers.
If you prefer paid promotions, then you can start using Amazon Marketing Service (AMS) or Facebook Ads to get your illustrated children’s book promoted. You might be wondering what AMS and Facebook Ads are and how you should use them.
What are Amazon Marketing Services?
Amazon Marketing Services, or AMS for short, is a marketing tool that was created by Amazon for sellers who are going to advertise their products and convert them into sales. AMS is a useful tool because it allows sellers to show advertised products to Amazon shoppers who are searching for the same product as advertised. How it works is that AMS uses match-up keywords or matches what shoppers are searching for with the same keywords that are used to identify your products.
For instance, if your product is a cardigan and a shopper is looking for a black cardigan, it is more likely that your cardigan product (instead of a pair of socks, for example) will appear on the shopper’s screen. This tool is an effective and efficient way to advertise a product as long as you use the right strategies and the right keywords.
Amazon Marketing Service now has 3 different advertisement programs that children’s book authors can use to promote their books on Amazon.
1. Amazon-Sponsored Product Ads
This advertisement program can be used by either Amazon vendors or third-party sellers. Using Amazon-sponsored product ads allows advertised products to appear on the top list of what the shopper is searching for. Sponsored product ads work by using automatic targets based on the contents in a store or manual targets based on the keywords that sellers use to identify their products.
There are several types of keywords to use on Amazon:
- Branded Product Keywords: your brand name and product
- Competitor Product Keywords: the brand names of your competitors and products, so shoppers will have to compare
- Out-of-Category Keywords: keywords that aren’t related to your product but could increase engagement with it
- Sponsored Products Automatic Targeting Keywords: uses search queries from an automatic targeting campaign and puts them into a manual targeting campaign.
(Note that Amazon-sponsored product ads make sellers meet several requirements.)
These requirements are as follows:
- Must have an active Amazon professional seller account
- Must be able to ship to all US addresses
- All products must be in new condition
2. Amazon Headline Search Ads
Amazon’s Headline Search advertisement program can only be used by Amazon Official Vendors. This program is what appears on the headline banner above search results. When shoppers click on the banner, it leads them to the vendor’s store profile, best-selling products, or even a custom URL.
The only requirement to use this advertisement program is that you need to be an official Amazon vendor who is selling products directly through Amazon.
Your store profile can be an Amazon Headline Search Ad. It can introduce your products to shoppers, increase brand awareness, and notify shoppers of your latest promotion. Your store profile should include content that will be beneficial and lead shoppers to purchase your products.
A showcase of your best-selling products is another option for the headline. Your ratings, number of products sold, and reviews by other buyers can also increase your potential to attract new buyers.
Another option for the headline is a customized URL that will lead buyers to a specific product that you’re selling that is the same as what shoppers are looking for, or it can lead to your profile or promotional products.
3. Amazon Product Display Ads
Using this type of advertising program is the least effective in terms of the likelihood that shoppers will end up purchasing your product. Amazon product display ads use shoppers’ interests to determine when to display your products, or they base it on targeted products that are similar to what the shopper has searched. Also, the display ad will appear on either your page or your competitor’s page.
Targeting based on interests has a high possibility of appearing on a shopper’s screen but a lower purchase conversion rate, whereas targeting based on similar products allows advertisers or sellers to target buyers who are looking for similar products; thus, the conversion rate is higher. If you’re selling products that haven’t been sold on Amazon before, using targeting based on interests might be a good option.
Just like Amazon Headline Search ads, the only requirement to use this program is to be an official Amazon vendor.
The other paid marketing service you can use is Facebook Ads. Here are the beneficial features of this program that you can use to promote your illustrated children’s book.
What is Facebook Advertising?
Facebook ads is a platform built by Facebook that allows anyone who has joined Facebook or Instagram to promote their products and services. Your advertised content will appear on every account that matches the settings you designate. Facebook ads provide many beneficial features that will eventually lead to book sales.
Here are 4 great features of Facebook Ads that all indie authors should know about.
1. Targeted Audience
Using Facebook Ads allows advertisers to show their products or services directly to a targeted audience based on gender, age group, interests, educational background, location, and even based on who they follow. This feature is beneficial because it highlights your product to the closest potential audiences according to your targeted selections.
2. Flexible Budgeting
Scared that your advertising might go over budget? Well, with Facebook Ads you are allowed to set your advertising budget and the duration of your advertisement according to your specific needs. You can typically set your budget for a minimum of $1.00 per day. From there, the price increases depending on how many audiences you are trying to reach based on location, interests, educational background, gender, etc.
3. Help Setting Up Mailing Lists
You can use mailing lists composed of your readers or other authors to inform them about your latest work updates. Once you set up your mailing lists, you can start sending them exclusive news about your new children’s book, book discounts, book launches, or other things that help keep your audiences informed about your work. Using Facebook Ads, you can add a pop-up on your landing page asking for visitors’ email addresses to receive exclusive news from you.
4. Boost Content
Are you adding content to Facebook or Instagram, but not reaching much of an audience? Using Facebook Ads is a good way to reach your full potential of audiences based on the settings you create and the budget you are able to spend. Your content can appear on both Facebook and Instagram, either in the feed or as a story.
Other than advertising your illustrated children’s book through digital platforms, organizing a book launch is another great way to promote your books.
Here are some tips to help you make a great book launch event:
- Choose the right venue
Finding and choosing the right venue requires a lot of consideration. First, your venue needs to be in a strategic place, whether it’s a library, a hall, a local bookstore, or any other familiar public space that you can rent for the day. Second, the venue needs to be able to comfortably fit the number of people you’ve invited. This is important to consider before planning for a book launch because you don’t want to be in a venue that is overcrowded. Also, the third thing you need to consider is access to vehicles—whether public or private—and parking for the visitors.
- Invite anyone, including friends, relatives, and the author community
Confused about who to invite to your children’s book launch? Well, you can invite your close friends and relatives who have supported you in finishing your book, as well as authors from the communities you’ve joined.
- Use social media to share invitations
Now that you’ve decided who to invite to your book launch, you can use social media to share invitations with potential attendees. You can create an official event on Facebook. This feature helps you to invite your Facebook friends, people in your author community, and other people who are interested in children’s books.
- Provide delicious food and fresh drinks
Most children’s book launches will be about 3 hours long, depending on the schedule you’ve prepared. That’s why it’s important to provide excellent food and fresh drinks for your visitors to enjoy.
- Actively promote your illustrated children’s book at the venue
Now that you’ve set the date for your children’s book launch, it is time to promote the event. Other than promoting it through social media, you can also promote your children’s book at the venue by printing posters, a sample of your book, stickers, and other merchandise that can help promote your book.
- Do a book signing
One of the activities you can do for a children’s book launch is a book signing for your readers. Make sure you have a good pen or marker for the book signing session.
- Prepare what you’re going to say
You also need to write down or remember what you’re going to say. Start by introducing yourself, explaining what your book is about, and telling people where they can purchase it.
- Don’t forget to say thank you!
Remember to appreciate those who were willing to come to your book launch and remember to support other authors as well by attending their book launches.